Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Let's find a way to improve tutoring

Using private tutors is illegal, but many parents are turning to them in a bid to increase their children's grades.

Students come home from school - and meet their tutors for more lessons. This increasingly common phenomenon across the UAE is a worrying one, as it raises questions about the quality of classroom education.

The use of private tutors is officially banned, but many teachers break the law to earn extra income. As The National reported yesterday, a survey conducted this year for the Abu Dhabi Education Council found that 47 per cent of Abu Dhabi parents use private tutors in Arabic, English, mathematics and science.

There are many possible reasons behind this trend. The number of students per classrooms is increasing, which makes it hard for teachers to spend enough time with each student. Meanwhile, parents are pushing their children to achieve better results and so they encourage them to take private lessons.

Private tutoring can cost Dh100 to Dh200 per hour. The laws governing residence visas say that residents may work only for their sponsors, so private tutoring by expatriates is illegal. But where parents want to pay and tutors want to earn, the law is ignored.

Whatever the reason, when almost half of parents see fit to break a law, it is time to look again at the law, and the whole situation.

The Adec questionnaire results suggest that more work is needed on the quality of education in classrooms, including the performance of teachers. Many parents suspect that some teachers do not work hard, or push their children hard enough in the classroom, simply to increase the demand for lucrative tutoring.

There are, to be sure, licensed tutoring centres that offer legal after-school coaching for pupils in different subjects.

But now it may be time to try another approach. At a recent Dubai School of Government forum, education experts suggested that what tutoring needs, instead of a blanket ban, is regulation.

We suggest investigating the idea of formalising private tutoring, by having it administered by the schools. The best teachers could be preferred for these assignments, students and tutors could be well-matched, and the system could be regulated in the best interest of all. There would certainly by complications and problems, but the issue demands attention and some new approaches.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Thai anti-government protesters blow whistles during a rally at the Metropolitan Electricity Authority in Bangkok, Thailand. Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Best photography from around the world April 23

The National View's photo editors pick the best of the day from around the world

 Thomas Heatherwick, the designer of Al Fayah park, unveiled his dream of a recreation area that is truly Abu Dhabi at Cityscape 2014 in the capital on April 22, 2014. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National

Abu Dhabi’s new Al Fayah Park: putting other green space in the shade

Nick Leech speaks to Thomas Heatherwick, the designer of Al Fayah, a park commissioned by the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation that hopes to redefine Abu Dhabi's urban landscape.

 Manager Jose Mourinho of Chelsea looks on from the dug out during the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. Paul Gilham / Getty Images / April 22, 2014

‘Now the game of our lives is at Stamford Bridge’ says Mourinho after Chelsea, Atletico draw

After Tuesday's scoreless draw, Jose Mourinho revealed Petr Cech's season was over and John Terry was also done unless they could reach the Champions League final.

 Mumbai Indians fans cheer they team on the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Earn cash back with the IPL cricket in the UAE

Dunia finance promotion allows cricket lovers to earn up to 6 per cent unlimited cash back on any spending they make on a day when an IPL match is played in the UAE.

 Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College students participate in the 2014 Innovation Challenge. Delores Johnson / The National

In pictures: the UAE Innovation Challenge 2014

The engineering competition brought together almost 100 students from across the country competing in teams to build the best unmanned aircraft.

 Former Manchester United manager David Moyes, right, speaks to Manchester United's Welsh midfielder Ryan Giggs during a training session at the team's Carrington training complex in Manchester, north-west England on April 22, 2014. Andrew Yates / AFP

Giggs a better fit for Manchester United than Moyes

The winger, who has played 962 games for the club, has been placed in interim charge of the first team and will be assisted by his former Manchester United teammate Nicky Butt.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National